A tragic accident involving a 4-year-old boy and a butane torch has turned into criminal charged for his parents, evictions for five people, and CPS involvement. The events that led to this sad outcome began over a month ago, with a little boy playing with something he found in his messy house…
According to police reports, the boy lived in a house on Adams street in Jackson, with five other children, five adults, and an assortment of animals. Somehow, the boy’s clothing was set on fire with a butane torch, authorities are still unsure how it happened, and he was badly burned on his torso, arms and hands.
Court documents show that the adults living in the house chose not to seek medical help for the boy. Instead, one of them went to the store to buy him a stuffed toy. However, a relative who lived in a different home became aware of the child’s injuries and called 911 to get the boy help. However, when emergency responders showed up at the house, the adults in the home denied them access. Once emergency responders were finally allowed to enter the house, they say they found the boy lying among piles of filthy laundry, animal feces and garbage. The child was transported to Henry Ford Allegiance Health, where he was listed as being in serious condition.
He was treated for over a month for the first and second degree burns he sustained.
Interestingly, none of the five adults in the house at the time were the boy’s parents. His father arrived at the house shortly after police arrived, and went with his son to the hospital. There, investigators say, he provided “multiple inconsistent and unrealistic explanations” for how his son had been burned. The boy’s mother is apparently in Florida.
However, while the 4-year-old was lying in a hospital bed, recovering, the police and CPS were dealing with the situation back at his home. Officers on scene say that the house had been previously condemned, and that the living conditions inside were ‘deplorable.’ In addition to a cockroach infestation, officers found excessive quantities of urine and feces, along with snakes and alligators, dogs and cats, and a pig. There was also an illegally made furnace which had been releasing carbon monoxide in dangerous quantities.
The five other children living in the house were removed by CPS and placed in foster homes. Everyone living inside the house has been evicted, and the five adults have all been charged with child abuse. The charged include Second Degree Child Abuse, Tampering With Evidence, and Lying to a Peace Officer. As of now, there are no charges against the child’s biological parents, although that may change as the investigation progresses.
Under Michigan law, Second Degree Child Abuse is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison. No child abuse charge is taken lightly here in Michigan, and people accused of abusing or neglecting children, whether or not they have done what they’re accused of, should seek out help from a highly skilled criminal defense attorney with experience handling abuse and neglect cases in Michigan.